NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One day after they crossed the finish line, the winners of the 2017 TCS New York City were honored at a special ceremony.

All eyes were on Shalane Flanagan, the first American woman to win the race in 40 years.

READ: Shalane Flanagan Becomes First American Woman To Win New York City Marathon Since 1977

One by one, the winners of the marathon were called to the stage Monday morning. The champion’s ceremony recognized the winners of the youth invitational, the wheelchair division, and of course the professional men’s and women’s categories.

Afterwards, Shalane Flanagan talked about what went through her mind as she approached the finish line.

“I’ve had this dream for a long time and it seemed so far away and like maybe it would never happen for me,” she said. “So I felt this extreme sense of validation that like my dreams were really worthy.”

Flanagan first ran the race back in 2010 and came in second. Training for and competing in the Olympics kept her from returning to the Big Apple until this year.

So what was the key to her success this time around?

The 36-year-old Bostonian says she thinks it was a back injury she suffered nine months ago.

“It allowed me to really rest and I felt like I had way more energy to give to this training, to this buildup and to this race,” she said.

Flanagan says athletics have always given her a huge sense of self-confidence and pride, and hopes her win inspires others.

The winners of the youth invitation say Flanagan’s success and their own makes them want to keep running.

“I had this rush of energy and started sprinting to the finish,” 16-year-old Peekskill resident Nolan DeFreitas told CBS2’s Elise Finch.

“It’s a good feeling, and I’m just thinking of the future how I can keep going,” 11-year-old Bed-Stuy resident Rainn Sheppard said.

Marathon organizers say this is the time for all the runners to celebrate, not just the winners. They say getting to the line is a huge accomplishment, even if it’s just the starting line.

“Just to get to that point, to build the courage to actually go through this is a lot,” Jersey City resident Vanessa Recalde said.

The winning moment represented a lifetime of training and sacrifice for Flanagan, who planned for this year’s race to be her last marathon.

Now, she says she’s not so sure.

An avid cook, Flanagan says she’s looking forward to eating all the foods she’s been denying herself for months while she was training.